Dear Urban Geeks-
Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve hosted Urban Geek Drinks. It’s been a blast. When UGD started, there were scant places for folks to gather, brainstorm crazy ideas, socialize, and otherwise scheme. Open Gov Chicago was fairly small, Chicago’s mayor was less than friendly to data transparency efforts, and there were far too few intersections between the civic and technology sectors.
Fortunately, things have changed fairly dramatically over the past two years. Meetups, competitions, hackathons, and new organizations have been popping up. Our new mayor and his tech team (many of whom have been UGD regulars) have pushed an aggressive open gov agenda. There is ample cross-pollination of the civic and tech sectors.
Just as all this was happening, my own work shifted. Since May 2011 I’ve been the founder / CEO of Food Genius; it’s an exciting and crazy adventure, one that consumes all of my time and energy.
For these reasons, I’ve decided to kill Urban Geek Drinks. I feel comfortable with this decision because – frankly – it’s no longer necessary. The urban geeks of Chicago no longer need to scheme over crazy ideas in a seedy South Loop bar. Rather, there are a host of events, organizations, and government agencies that are supporting and lifting up your efforts. What started as schemes have become official plans with financial backing. While I’ve grown away from UGD, the rest of you have outgrown it.
Many, many thanks to all of you who attended the meetups, shared your crazy ideas, bought me whiskey drinks, and otherwise built this amazing community. It always felt strange when people thanked me for hosting – I really didn’t do much other than send out a few emails and coordinate with the bar owners. You did all of the work, created the community, and turned urban geekery in Chicago into what it is today.
To properly send-off UGD, we’ll be gathering one last time at the December Open Gov Chicago meetup / party:
Open Gov Chicago / Urban Geek Drinks Holiday Meetup
Thursday, December 13th
1871 (Merchandise Mart, Suite 1212)
RSVP required (seats are limited): http://www.meetup.com/OpenGovChicago/events/8918094
Urban Geek Drinks is dead. Long live urban geeks!